Series History: Arizona is 35-10 all-time against Washington State and has defeated the Cougars 28 straight times... That's currently the longest winning streak versus a conference opponent in the in the country... The streak dates back 14 years... That last win in the series for the Cougars was a 65-63 overtime victory in Pullman on Jan. 30, 1986... ... Arizona is 16-4 all-time against WSU in Tucson and has won the last 15 in a row... The last time the Cougars won in McKale Center was during Lute Olson's first season as Arizona head coach -- Jan. 14, 1984... That was a 51-49 win for WSU... Overall, Arizona is 31-2 against Wazzu with Olson as the head coach... Versus Washington, Arizona owns an advantage of 28-15 and has won four of the last five games... Washington won the last meeting between the teams -- a 90-84 win in Seattle on Feb. 4, 1999... The Wildcats are 23-11 against UW under Olson... In Tucson, Arizona owns an advantage of 17-4... UW did manage to pull off an 80-79 overtime win in McKale Center on Feb. 1, 1996, a win that marks one of the 11 home losses Arizona has suffered in its last 190 home games.
Arizona's Last Action: Arizona beat the previously unbeaten and top-ranked Stanford Cardinal, 68-65, last Saturday in Maples Pavilion to give head coach Lute Olson his 600th career win and complete just its second Bay Area sweep in the past five years. Using only seven players, Arizona received big-time performances from each guy, highlighted by the outings of Jason Gardner, Loren Woods and Michael Wright. The Arizona roster was reduced to seven after starting three-man Richard Jefferson went down with a stress fracture in his right foot just three minutes into the game. Gardner scored a game-high 22 points to go with six rebounds and four assists, while Woods had his third double-double of the season with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. As for Wright, he scored 15 points to go with nine rebounds and his defense was huge, as he limited Stanford's Mark Madsen to just two points on 1-of-7 shooting from the floor. After falling behind early by nine points on three separate occasions, Arizona closed the deficit and trailed just 31-29 at the half. In the second period, the Cats opened with an 18-4 run over the first 7:45 top stake a 12 point advantage at 47-35. The UA maintained a lead the rest of the way and led 65-55 with just 30 seconds left before Stanford reduced it to 66-65 after David Moseley hit a pair of three-point bombs. Jason Gardner's two free throws with three seconds left helped secure the win before Moseley's desperation three-point heave missed at the buzzer. Arizona's defense was a major part of the story, as it allowed the Cardinal to hit on just 33.3% of its shots and only 24.0% from the three-point line (6-of-25).
Pac-10 Home Openers: The Wildcats are 15-6 in Pac-10 Conference home openers... They are 13-3 under Lute Olson... The three losses under Olson were in 1994-95 (UCLA), 1984-85 (USC) and 1983-84 (UCLA)... Arizona has won 14 of its last 15 Pac-10 Conference home openers... Last season, the Cats also opened the Pac-10 Conference home slate against Washington State, winning 99-87 on Jan. 7, 1999.
Basketball Reunion Weekend: The University of Arizona athletic department will honor three past basketball teams and its players this weekend... Members of the 1950, 1960 and 1975 teams will be honored as will all Emeritus team members (former letterwinners who are 50 years old and abover) at halftime of Saturday's game versus Washington... The 50th anniversary 1950 Wildcat squad was coached by Fred Enke and won the sixth of seven consecutive Border Conference championships... It's record was 24-5 and 14-2 in the league... As for the 30th anniversary 1960 team, it too was coached by Enke, and was 10-14, finishing fourth in the Border Conference with a 4-6 mark... The 1975 team, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, was coached by Fred Snowden... It was the fifth team in school history to win 20+ games, as it finished with a 22-7 record and placed third in the Western Athletic Conference with a 9-5 mark.
Washington State Notes: The Cougars are 5-6 on the season and 0-2 in the Pac-10 Conference... They are coming off a pair of losses last weekend, losing to USC (83-61) and UCLA (86-64) at home... They bring a three-game losing streak into Thursday night's game... The last win was on Dec. 20, at Portland State... Six-foot-8 senior forward Craig Crosby is the team's leading scorer and No. 4 in the Pac-10 with a 16.6 ppg average... Senior guard Jan-Michael Thomas is second on the team and No. 11 in the league with a 14.6 ppg mark... The leading rebounder is 6-foot-6 sophomore guard Mike Bush at 6.5 rpg... Bush is also No. 2 in the league for steals (2.91 spg)... The Cougars are last in the league in scoring, averaging 66.4 ppg... Crosby is the Pac-10's No. 2 free throw shooter, hitting on 88.9% of his attempts (48-54)... Washington State's head coach is first year head man Paul Graham... He came to Pullman after spending seven seasons as an assistant to Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State.
The Last Arizona-Washington State Game: Arizona completed a trip to the state of Washington by defeating the Washington State Cougars in Pullman on Feb. 6, 1999, for the 28th straight time. The Wildcats were led in scoring by Jason Terry, who had 25 points to go with seven assists and five steals. Arizona, which trailed 36-27 with 3:52 left in the first half, used a 15-0 run to take a 42-36 lead into the lockeroom at halftime. In the second half, the Cats built a 60-43 lead with 12 minutes left and appeared to have everything in order. But, WSU fought back and eventually tied the game at 73-73 with 2:17 to go. Terry then scored six points in the final 1:56 to help lift the UA to its 16th win of the season. A.J. Bramlett had a double-double, going for 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Michael Wright just missed another double-double, as he had nine points and 15 rebounds (had grabbed five in the first 2:41 of the game). Arizona's defense shut down WSU's Jan-Michael Thomas, who scored just seven points and was 3-of-11 from the floor.
Coach Olson: Lute Olson (Augsburg '56) is his 17th season as the head coach at Arizona and his 27th overall as a head coach... This season has already seen him reach two major milestones in what has become a Hall of Fame type coaching career -- he has recorded his 600th career win and his 400th victory at Arizona... With his win at Stanford on Jan. 8, he moved his career record to 600-214 (.737), making him one of the 33 coaches in NCAA history to win 600 or more games... His mark at the University of Arizona stands at 408-122 (.770)... With the win over BYU this season, he reached 400 victories for his Arizona career (these numbers may differ from what the NCAA coaching totals list, because as opposed to the Pac-10 Conference, the NCAA does not count forfeits as wins on head coaching records, as the case is with two UA losses to Cal in 1995 and 1996, which were later changed to wins... the same holds true with a game when Olson was at Iowa, when there was a forfeit by Wisconsin in 1983 that changed a loss into a win)... He is 31-2 all-time against Washington State and is 23-11 versus Washington... The season's opener against Kansas State was the 800th of his collegiate Division IA career... For his entire coaching career, including 11 years in high school (180-76 from 1956-69) and two in the junior college ranks (Long Beach City College, 104-20), he has coached in 1,194 games... During his 17-year tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have won one national championship (1997), gone to three Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997), won eight Pac-10 Conference titles and been to the NCAA Tournament for the past 15 years in a row, which is the second longest streak in NCAA history (North Carolina, 25)... He also led Iowa to the 1980 Final Four... He has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year six times (1986, 88, 89, 93, 94, 98), the Big-10 Coach of the Year twice (1979 & 81) and directed the UA program to the nation's best winning percentage over the past 12 years... His Pac-10 record stands at 225-65 (.776) and he is one of just six coaches in league history to win 200 or more conference games... He has the second-best conference winning percentage in Pac-10 history (minimum three years), trailing only John Wooden (.810/304-74)... Prior to coming to the UA, he was at Iowa for nine years and went 168-90... Before that, he was at Long Beach State for one season (1973-74), where he was 24-2... In his collegiate career, he has produced 35 NBA Draft picks, including 20 at Arizona 15 alone on the 1990s... He has led Arizona to 12 consecutive 20-win seasons and has 21 overall in his career... Under Olson, the Cats are 250-26 (.905) in McKale Center and have won 179 of their last 190 home games.
It's Been A While: As the case normally is when Arizona and Washington State meet, the subject of UA's winning streak comes up... Arizona has won the last 28 games... Here are some happenings from the time period when WSU last beat Arizona (Jan. 30, 1986)... Wildcat freshman Gilbert Arenas was four years old... Lute Olson was in his third year at the UA, and at that point, had just 46 wins under his belt as the Arizona head coach -- since then, he has racked up 362 victories... Arizona had been to just one NCAA Tournament under Olson -- the UA has since gone on to play in 14 more... Sean Elliott and Kenny Lofton were freshmen at the UA... Ronald Reagan was in the midst of his second term as President... The three-point line did not exist in college basketball, while Louisville and freshman Pervis Ellison would go onto win the NCAA championship in March... Michael Jordan was in his second season in the NBA, John Elway had just completed his third year in the NFL and Patrick Ewing would be named NBA Rookie of the Year... The Chicago Bears had beaten New England four days earlier in Super Bowl XX... Len Bias, Kenny Walker, Walter Berry and Steve Alford were consensus All-Americans... Miami (Fla.) quarterback Vinny Testaverde had won the Heisman Trophy a month earlier... Platoon would win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Washington Notes: The Huskies are 6-8 and 1-1 in the Pac-10 Conference after splitting their games with UCLA and USC last weekend... They beat UCLA 63-62 and lost to USC in overtime, 81-79...Two of their past four games have gone to overtime the other was a 79-75 loss at New Mexico State on Dec. 30... In the USC loss, Washington was done in by poor shooting in the overtime session -- it hit on just 1-of-10 field goal attempts and was 0-of-5 from the three-point line, even though it lost by just two points... UW's leading scorer is 6-foot-5 senior guard Deon Luton, who sports a 16.0 ppg mark... That ties him for No. 6 in the Pac-10 this week... He scored 26 in the win over UCLAand had 21 in the loss to USC... Chris Perkins, a 6-foot-8 junior transfer from Iowa Western JC, is the team's top rebounder at 7.2 rpg... That is the sixth-best mark in the Pac-10 stats... Washington head coach Bob Bender is in his seventh year as the Huskies' mentor, and he has compiled a record of 91-92... He is in his 11th year as a head coach (151-149)... Against Arizona, he has gone 4-8.
The Last Washington/Arizona Game: Before a sold out crowd of 7,900 in Hec Edmundson Pavilion Washington downed the Wildcats by a score of 90-84 on Feb, 6, 1999, snapping a four-game losing streak to the Wildcats... The Huskies used hot shooting from the three-point line (9-of-18) and 24 and 20 points from Donald Watts and Deon Luton to give UW its win ... As for Arizona, the Cats were led in scoring by Jason Terry, who went for a game-high 28 points... Two Wildcats recorded double-doubles, Michael Wright with 19 points and 10 rebounds and A.J. Bramlett with 12 points and 16 boards.
Injury News: Arizona sophomore forward Richard Jefferson will undergo surgery on his right foot Tuesday to the fractured fifth metatarsal he sustained during last Saturday's game at Stanford. University of Arizona orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jon Nisbet will perform the surgery at the University Medical Center... Following the surgery, Jefferson will be out of action for eight weeks with his anticipated return set for the first week of March, which coincides with the team's trip to Oregon State (March 2) and Oregon (March 4)... After that week, the Wildcats will close out the regular season at home on March 9 and 11 versus Stanford and California... Following his surgery, Jefferson's foot will be placed in a boot and he will undergo non-weight bearing rehabilitation for four weeks... Should that portion of his rehabilitation progress as anticipated, he will then progress to weight bearing activities for the final four weeks of rehab.
The UA's record of 333-76 over the course of the past 12+ years gives it the nation's best winning percentage during that span (.814).
Pac-10 Team of the Decade???: Arizona had the most wins of any Pac-10 team in the 1990s (269), has won five Pac-10 Conference crowns and tied for one other... UCLA is second with four Pac-10 conference titles this decade... For conference games only, Arizona's record of 142-40 is the best in the league, with UCLA at No. 2 with a 135-48 mark... The Cats have been to the NCAA Tournament each year this decade and won it all in 1997... There have been 18 All-Pac-10 first team selections from Arizona, four Pac-10 Players of the Year and two Pac-10 Freshmen of the Year... Arizona has not recorded a double-digit loss total since 1986-87... The Wildcats' seven All-Americans during the 1990s trails only Duke's 10... UA and North Carolina are tied for second-most All-Americans in the 1990s. Lower Output, Same Results: Arizona has scored less than 70 points in a game six times this season, including four of the past five games... In the past two seasons combined, the Wildcats only had three games with less than 70 points... In the past three seasons, there were eight games of less than 70 points...The Cats are averaging 75.9 ppg this season... At this rate, the 1999-00 Arizona team would be the lowest scoring group since the 1986-87 program, which wound up averaging 75.6 ppg... Conversely, this year's Cats have been playing some pretty stingy defense, allowing only 63.5 ppg... That mark is the best since the 1985-86 club finished the season giving up just 62.3 ppg.
John R. Wooden Award & All-America Candidate
Arizona sophomore forward Michael Wright was named as one of 30 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award as the nation's top college basketball player. He is one of two players from the Pacific-10 Conference to be selected, joining Stanford's Mark Madsen. On the season, Wright is averaging 13.9 ppg and 8.7 rpg, while shooting 56.6% from the floor. He has a Pac-10 best seven double-doubles this season, bringing his career total to 19 in 44 career games.
"...Wright played a phenomenal game and won the battle inside. He's a warrior." Stanford's Mark Madsen
Cat Scratches: Eleven of the Wildcats' 15 opponents have shot less than 40% from the field this season... In last week's Bay Area sweep, California and Stanford combined to make just 46-of-134 field goal attempts (.343)... From three-point range, the two squads hit on 13-of-44 attempts (.295)... The Cardinal came into the game shooting .358 from the three-point arc, but hit on just 6-of-25 3PT attempts (.240)... In the past three games, Loren Woods has averaged 20.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg and 4.0 bpg, is shooting 24-of-40 from the field (.600) and is 14-of-17 from the free throw line... This will be the first time since 1993-94 that Arizona has not had a player from Seattle on its roster when it faces the Washington teams... Seattle products Michael Dickerson and Jason Terry have taken their talents to the NBA... The Cats are 4-1 versus ranked opponents this season, beating No.1 Stanford, No. 5 Michigan State, No. 9 Texas, No. 11 Kentucky and losing to No. 6 Connecticut... There are just 2.3 points separating the UA's No. 1 scorer (Loren Woods/14.3 ppg) from the No. 5 scorer (Jason Gardner/12.0 ppg)... In between you have Michael Wright at 13.9 ppg, Gilbert Arenas (12.7 ppg) and Richard Jefferson (12.2 ppg)... Arizona has been to the free throw line 149 more times than its opposition this season... This week marks the 72nd time in Arizona basketball history that the team has been ranked in the top-five by the Associated Press -- they have been in the top-five for the past seven weeks in a row, which is the longest consecutive span spent in the top five since the 1990-91 team was ranked anywhere from No. 2 to No. 4 from the preseason poll to week seven... Arizona started the season ranked ninth in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls... Of Jason Gardner's 52 field goals this season, 37 are from three-point land (71.1%)... Further, 85 of his 138 field goal attempts have been from behind the three-point line (61.5%)... Of Arizona's five starters, you have one sophomore (Wright) who has played in 44 career games and 20 Pac-10 games, one junior transfer who has played in two Pac-10 games, one redshirt freshman (Luke Walton) and two true freshmen (Gardner/Arenas) who have played in 15 college games each... After winning the Preseason NIT earlier this season, Arizona joins Kansas as the only three-time winners of the event, winning it in 1999, 1995 and 1990... Since the start of the 1997 NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats have won 71 of 87 games (.816 winning %)... Dating back to the start of the 1997-98 season, Arizona has been ranked in the top-10 in 40 of the last 46 AP polling periods... Arizona is 36-0 when senior Josh Pastner plays, hence the term "A Pastner Game" applies whenever the Wildcats win big... Pastner and Woods were selected captains for this year's team in voting that was done by teammates... The UA has not given up 100 points in regulation since Jan. 27, 1990, at Pittsburgh, a span of 316 games... UA lost that game 100-92.
UA in the Pac-10 Stats: Arizona leads the league in one statistical ranking three point shooting percentage (.385)... The Wildcats are second in field goal percentage defense (.378), rebounding (40.6 rpg), blocked shots (5.87 bpg) and defensive rebounds (28.0 pg)... Individually, Loren Woods leads the league in blocked shots (3.40 bpg) and is second in field goal percentage (.567)... Michael Wright is tied with Sean Lampley for first in rebounding (8.7 rpg) and he is third in field goal percentage (.566)... Jason Gardner is second in assists (5.60 apg)... Gilbert Arenas is fifth in steals (2.27 spg).
A New Breed of Cats: With Kentucky not being included in the Associated Press Top-25 rankings on Dec. 13, for the first time in nine years, Arizona now has the second longest current streak of appearing in the AP's weekly poll (81 weeks, counting this week's poll)...This streak dates back to the first regular season poll of the 1995-96 season... Arizona was not ranked in that year's preseason poll... That was the only time since the 1987-88 preseason poll that Arizona was not ranked in the AP poll.. Overall, Arizona has been ranked in the regular season Top-25 rankings for 208 straight weeks... North Carolina extended the nation's No. 1 streak of being ranked in the AP poll to 171 consecutive weeks and that is the third-longest streak in history.
Roster Moves: Arizona started the season with 16 players on its roster, but the number has since been reduced to 13 -- and after Richard Jefferson's injury, there are now only seven scholarship players available for action (Rick Anderson, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Gardner, Luke Walton, Justin Wessel, Loren Woods and Michael Wright)... There are three non-scholarship players (John Ash, Josh Pastner and Mike Schwertley)... Two additional scholarship players, Eugene Edgerson and Lamont Frazier, are sitting out this season... Edgerson is out with a redshirt season so he can work on the student-teaching portion of his education degree... Frazier has missed the past six games to take care of academic responsibilities and a medical condition -- and as a result of all the missed time, the UA coaching staff will look to redshirt him this season... The deletions from the original roster include freshman center Robertas Javtokas, who decided to return his native Lithuania and play professionally... Junior transfer Luke Recker transferred to Iowa he had come to the UA from Indiana prior to this season, but returned to the Midwest to be closer to his family and girlfriend (Kelly Craig), who was injured in a July car crash... Of the transfer, he said, "After what happened this summer, I feel I need to be closer to my family, Kelly and Jason (Craig) and their family, and many other important people in my life. I have been nothing but extremely impressed with coach Lute Olson and the Arizona program and I will miss them greatly"... The third was sophomore guard Ruben Douglas, who was granted his request for a release from his scholarship at the University of Arizona by the UA coaching staff on Nov. 14... He has transferred to New Mexico.
McKale Magic: When New Mexico beat Arizona on Dec. 21 in McKale Center, it snapped what was the nation's fourth-longest active home winning streak... The Wildcats had won 37 consecutive home games... And up until then, only four players on this year's team had ever experienced a loss in McKale Center (Justin Wessel, Josh Pastner, John Ash & Eugene Edgerson -- those four were on teams that were 47-1 at home -- they are now 49-2 at home)... Prior to the New Mexico game, the last loss for the UA in McKale Center was a 66-64 defeat to UCLA on Feb. 13, 1997... Arizona has now won 50 of its last 52 home games and is 179-11 in McKale Center since the 1987-88 season... During that time, the Cats have lost three non-conference games (New Mexico - Dec. 21, 1999; Syracuse - Dec. 23, 1995; Arkansas - Dec. 6, 1992)... The New Mexico loss also snapped a 23 game home winning streak against consecutive non-conference opponents... Last year was the ninth season in history that Arizona went undefeated at home... Arizona owns an all-time record of 342-65 (.840) in McKale Center... This is the 12th season Arizona basketball has been sold out in McKale Center on a season-ticket basis... Only 10 pairs of mid-level tickets and 20 pairs of upper level tickets were not renewed for this year.
Looking Ahead: Following this week's games versus Washington State and Washington, Arizona travels to Los Angeles next week to play at UCLA on Thursday, Jan. 20, and at USC on Saturday, Jan. 22. Fox Sports Net will televise both games.
For Starters: Lute Olson has gone with the same starting lineup in 13 of the 15 games this season, but that will change for the time being due to Richard Jefferson's injury... The times the starting five was altered was against Michigan State and IUPUI... Against MSU, an adjustment was made at the center spot, as Justin Wessel started for Loren Woods... Woods was late to the game because of a traffic accident he was in while on the way to McKale Center... He finally got to the arena in the early goings of the first half and checked into the lineup at the 14:17 mark after warming up on a stationary bike... He made his first field goal attempt 24 seconds later... Gilbert Arenas was the other normal starter who did not start against MSU, as a result of him being late to a scheduled treatment session with basketball athletic trainer Ed Orr... Rick Anderson started in his place and Richard Jefferson started at the two-guard... Against IUPUI, Anderson again started for Arenas and Jefferson went at the two-guard.
Road Warriors: Arizona has played in six different locales and four separate time zones while logging 10,372 travel miles this season... Further, the team will has been through 11 different airports and on 20 different plane flights.
Block Party: Junior center Loren Woods, who was the Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic MVP, is providing the UA basketball program with a luxury it has been without for the past few years a legitimate shot blocker... With 51 blocks already this season (3.4 bpg), he already has 14 more than last year's top UA shot blocker -- A.J. Bramlett -- had for the entire season (37)... In fact, Woods already has more in a single season since Anthony Cook set the UA season record with 85 blocks in 1988-89... Woods is well ahead of that pace (he is on track for 108 swats)... Woods has tied the UA record for blocks in a game three times this season, blocking seven shots against Notre Dame, Nebraska and New Mexico (Cook had seven blocks in 1987 against UTEP)... Also, Richard Jefferson's 15 blocks this season is already four more than his entire total for the 1998-99 campaign... Last year, the Wildcats accounted for 93 blocks on the season and this year, they already have 88.
And Make It A Double: All-American and John Wooden Award candidate Michael Wright has seven double-doubles in the Wildcats' 15 games this season, bringing his career double-double total to 19... The sophomore power forward has 19 double-doubles in just 44 career games... On the season, he is averaging 13.9 ppg and a Pac-10-best 8.7 rpg, while shooting 56.6% from the floor... He has started 39 consecutive games for the Cats dating back to last season... Wright was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week back on Dec. 6 after averaging 17.5 ppg and 11.5 rpg in wins over Brigham Young and Texas... His 35 rebounds through the first three games of the Preseason NIT were three shy of the three-game tournament record of 38, set by Gary Trent (Miami of Ohio).. His rebounding average of 8.8 rpg last season was the best ever for a freshman in the Pac-10 Conference.
Jefferson's Starship: Prior to going down with the foot injury, sophomore forward Richard Jefferson was a regular on the various "Plays of the Week" shows... One of the most athletic players in the country, he has turned in a solid season, while providing more than a fair share of highlight reel dunks and blocks... Prior to being out with the injury, he was fourth on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and first in three-point shooting (.452/14-31)... He was third in field goal percentage (.532) and rebounding (4.9 rpg)... He was second in assists (3.3 apg)... Last week, he was a subject of ESPN.com's question of the day on the college basketball site it asked "who is the best small forward in the country?"... He garnered 12% of the vote to finish fourth behind Michigan State's Morris Peterson, Maryland's Terrance Morris and Cincinnati's Pete Mickeal... He is finally coming into his own as a wing player after spending his high school career as a back-tothe-basket post player... His season was highlighted by a 19-point, five rebound, four assist outing at Texas, that helped lift Arizona to an 88-81 win over the ninth-ranked Longhorns... All 19 points came in the second half when he was 8-of-10 from the floor... He was named to the Fiesta Bowl All-Tournament team.
The Kids are Alright: The freshman guard tandem of Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas appear to have acclimated themselves quite well to the college game... Big parts of the UA's 13-2 start, they are combining for 24.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 7.7 apg and 3.9 spg... They are No. 1 & 2 in steals and minutes on the team... Gardner leads the team in minutes, averaging 35.4 mpg and his three-point percentage (.435/37-85) is better than his overall field goal percentage (.377/52-138)... Gardner is coming off a big performance in the win over Stanford, scoring a career-high 22 points to go with a career-best six rebounds and four assists... He was 4-of-5 from the three-point line... They enjoyed their time in the Madison Square Garden limelight for the Preseason NIT, appearing in their own version of an off-Broadway "CATS" performance... They were both named to the Preseason NIT All-Tournament team, while Arenas was the tourney's MVP... Arenas averaged 17.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 apg and 3.5 spg, helping Arizona beat Notre Dame and Kentucky... He went for a game and career-high 20 points in the title game versus UK... As for Gardner, he averaged 9.5 ppg, 4.0 apg, 2.0 spg and only turned the ball over once while playing in 72 of a possible 80 minutes.
Groovin' & Truckin': It would make sense that a "Deadhead" would choose Berkeley -- and the Bay Area -- to not only come out of a shooting slump, but turn in his most impressive performances of the season... Against California, UA redshirt freshman Luke Walton made his first field goal since the IUPUI game back on Dec. 13 -- breaking a five-game drought without a field goal... He had a solid all-around game, scoring five points to go with three rebounds and three assists... His jumper with 2:31 left in the game gave Arizona a 60-58 lead -- an advantage it would never relinquish... Against Stanford, he filled in for an injured Richard Jefferson and played a career-high 32 minutes, including all 20 in the second half... Although he was only 1-of-6 from the floor, he had a game and career-best seven assists... It was his defense and heady play that received the most mention from Lute Olson and Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery.
Pac-10 Prognostications: The Wildcats were picked to win the 1999-2000 Pac-10 Conference title, according to a poll of media members who regularly cover the league... The poll showed Arizona getting 32 of the possible 36 first-place votes, edging No. 2 UCLA, which received three first place votes and No. 3 Stanford, which garnered one first place vote... Following the top-three were Oregon, Oregon State, California, USC, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State. This poll has correctly picked the Pac-10 Champion for five years in a row and Arizona has now been the preseason No. 1 pick six times since the poll was started back in 1989.
Ties Count as a Win: With each win by the Arizona basketball team this year, head coach Lute Olson donates the tie he wore in the game to the Tucson YMCA , and in turn they auction off that tie to the public, with all the proceeds going towards their youth programs... So far, his closet is minus 13 ties on the season...
Pretty Good Success: Dating back to the first round loss of the 1986 Big Apple NIT, Arizona has won 68 of its last 74 games that have been played as part of an in-season tournament or one-game special event (i.e. Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic, Preseason NIT, Maui Invitational, Great Eight Classic, Las Vegas Showdown, Great Alaska Shootout, Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic, etc., etc.)... This season, Arizona is 7-1 in such events, going 4-0 in the Preseason NIT, losing to Connecticut at the Great Eight, beating Nebraska in the Las Vegas Showdown and beating UNC-Wilmington and Delaware in the opening round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic.
Counting Classes: The 1999-2000 Arizona basketball roster is relatively young... From top-to-bottom, it is comprised of just two seniors, of which only one will play, due to Eugene Edgerson's redshirt season (Josh Pastner, who has played just 88 minutes in his four year career is the lone "playing" senior)... After that, there are four juniors two of whom had never played in a game for the Cats before the Kansas State season opener (Wake Forest transfer Loren Woods & junior college transfer Lamont Frazier)... Then there are three sophomores, one redshirt freshman and three true freshmen.
Happy Action Graduation Time: If getting your undergraduate degree in just two-and-a-half years was not enough, Arizona senior Josh Pastner has pushed the envelope even further with his most recent scholastic accomplishment... On Dec. 18, he received his master's degree in teaching & teacher education, taking just three-and-a-half years to do so... He walked in the University of Arizona's graduation ceremonies on Saturday morning, and then boarded a plane to Las Vegas to meet up with the team for that night's game against Nebraska... Last year the road trip and graduation day was exactly the same as well, when he received his undergraduate degree in family studies... He walked the morning of Dec. 19, 1998 and then flew to Las Vegas later that day for the Cats' game in the Las Vegas Shootout versus Iowa State.
A Redshirt Year: Another face that is returning this season, but will not be playing is Eugene Edgerson... He will redshirt this season so he can complete his degree requirement in his education major... In order to accomplish his goal of getting his degree and teaching certificate from the UA in four years, he will student teach during the 2000 spring semester, while fulfilling other requirements this fall... Depending on his teaching schedule, he will still practice with the team but will miss Wednesday practices during the fall semester.
2000 NCAA West Region First/Second Rounds in McKale Center The University of Arizona will host the first and second rounds of the 2000 NCAA Tournament West Region this March 16 & 18 in McKale Center. Tickets are currently on sale for each of the three sessions and cost $90. Ticket orders can be made at the McKale Center ticket office or by calling 520-621-CATS (2287). Media credential applications will be ready in January. Contact media coordinator Tom Duddleston with any questions (520-621-4163).
Where Are You From?: California is the state that can claim the most members of this year's Wildcats, as four players are from "The Golden State " (Rick Anderson, Gilbert Arenas, Lamont Frazier and Luke Walton)... There are three from Arizona (John Ash, Richard Jefferson & Michael Schwertley)... The rest of the roster contains six players from different states.
The Golden Arches: This season's roster has three former McDonald's All-Americans Jason Gardner, Richard Jefferson and Loren Woods.
Then There Were Four: Just four players on this year's roster remain from Arizona's 1997 NCAA Championship team Eugene Edgerson, Justin Wessel, John Ash and Josh Pastner.
Who's Gone From 1998-99: Leading the losses from last season are 1998-99 seniors Jason Terry and A.J. Bramlett... Terry was named the National Player of the Year in three circles last year and was the Pac-10 Player of the Year after becoming the first player to lead the league in scoring (21.9 ppg), assists (5.5) and steals (2.8) in the same season since Gary Payton of Oregon State did it in 1989-90... He was No. 10 in the NBA Draft and went to the Atlanta Hawks... Bramlett was an All-Pac-10 selection last season after averaging 14.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg... He was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers... Both Terry and Bramlett were members of four Arizona teams that went 103-28 (55-4 at home), winning a national title (1997), a Pac-10 crown and they were 11-3 in the NCAA Tournament... Jason Stewart was the third senior last year, while freshman guard Traves Wilson transferred in the off-season, and so did Ruben Douglas, who made his decision to do so as well on Nov. 14.
Arizona's NCAA Tournament History: Last year marked the 18th time Arizona has made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament and it was the 15th invite under head coach Lute Olson... UA's current string of 15 consecutive appearances in the NCAAs is the second longest streak in NCAA history, trailing only North Carolina's 25 straight invites (UNC's is a current streak as well)... Last season was the 20th time in the last 21 years that Olson has taken a team to the NCAAs... He has directed Arizona to 15 tourneys and a 24-14 record -- and when he was the coach at Iowa, he coached five Hawkeye squads to the NCAAs... With 20 career appearances in the NCAA Tournament, he is tied for fourth on the NCAA's all-time tournament appearance list for head coaches with Adolph Rupp and John Thompson... Over the course of their last 20 NCAA games, the Wildcats own a record of 15-5... In the last five years, Arizona has played in 21 tournament games... Arizona's all-time record in the NCAA Tournament is now 26-17... The Wildcats have been to three Final Fours -- 1988, 1994 & 1997... Arizona has advanced to the Sweet 16 seven times in the last 12 years.
20-Win Campaigns: With its record of 22-7 last season, it marked the 12th consecutive season that Arizona won 20 or games... Further, it was the 14th time in Lute Olson's 16 years as UA head coach that the Cats have reached the 20-win plateau... It marked the 21st time in Olson's career that he has directed a team to 20 or more victories, making him just the eighth head coach in NCAA history to reach 20 wins in 21 or more seasons (Dean Smith-30; Jerry Tarkanian-26; Adolph Rupp-23; Bobby Knight-22; Denny Crum-21; Jim Boeheim-21; John Chaney-21).
Former Cats in the NBA: This season, there are nine former Arizona players on NBA rosters -- the list has been cut by three in recent days, as A.J. Bramlett, Ben Davis and Khalid Reeves have been released in the past days... The current nine-man list includes, Mike Bibby (Vancouver), Jud Buechler (Detroit), Michael Dickerson (Vancouver), Sean Elliott (San Antonio/injured list), Steve Kerr (San Antonio), Chris Mills (Golden State), Sean Rooks (Dallas), Damon Stoudamire (Portland) and Jason Terry (Atlanta).
Shooting Sets the Tone: Since the 1996-97 season, Arizona is 73-4 in games when it has a better shooting percentage than its opponent... The Wildcats are 13-0 this year, 19-1 last season, 23-2 the year before and 18-1 in 1996-97 campaign.
80s Preservation Society: In the past four years, the UA is 81-8 when it scores 80 or more points in a game... Further, since the 1992-93 season, Arizona is 143-15 when it scores 80 or more... The Cats are 6-0 this year, were 15-2 in 1998-99, 26-3 in 1997-98 and 19-2 in 1996-97.
Prowlin' With the Wildcats: Here's the upcoming broadcast schedule for Fox Sports Net Arizona's bi-weekly magazine show about University of Arizona athletics -- "Prowlin' with the Wildcats"... Fri., Jan. 14, 9 p.m./Sun., Jan. 16, 1 p.m. (replay); Thurs., Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m./Sat., Jan. 29, 3 p.m. (replay); Wed., Feb. 9, 5 p.m./Fri, Feb. 11, 9 p.m. (replay); Wed., Feb. 23, 9 p.m./Fri. Feb. 25, 9 p.m. (replay).
Surfin' With The Cats: Follow Arizona basketball games on the internet at www.arizcats.com... Go to the TotalCast portion of the site to see the live real-time play-by-play updates of each of the Arizona men's basketball games.
Arizona Basketball On TV This Year: Each of Arizona's 32 regular season games will be televised on either Fox Sports Net, ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, CBS or KWBA. The Wildcats appear on Fox Sports Net 20 times, ESPN four times, ESPN2 four times, CBS once, ABC once and on Tucson's KWBA five times.
The Coach's Show: Once again this season, KNST radio will air the Lute Olson Coach's Show, hosted by Brian Jeffries... It all takes place at Bob's on Tanque Verde... The next Lute Olson Show will be Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 6 p.m. and the TV show will be shown Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 10:30 p.m on UPN channel 18 in Tucson.
Lute Olson has reached a pair of coaching milestones this season... He recorded career win No. 600 with the victory at top-ranked Stanford on Jan. 8, and has also achieved win No. 400 at Arizona... Here is a look at his milestone career victories:
Win Date Team Opponent Score 1 12-1-73 LBSU Puget Sound 84-55 100 2-3-79 Iowa Minnesota 97-71 200 2-25-84 Arizona Oregon St. 69-58 300 3-27-88 Arizona North Carolina 70-52 400 2-13-93 Arizona Washington St. 94-72 500 2-11-96 Arizona Cincinnati 79-76 600 1-8-00 Arizona Stanford 65-68 UA's Probable Starting Lineup: Ht. Wt. Yr-Exp. PPG RPG APG/BPG/SPG F 21 Michael Wright 6-7 238 So.-1L 13.9 8.7 0.7 spg F 4 Luke Walton 6-8 228 Fr.-RS 2.7 3.1 2.1 apg C 3 Loren Woods 7-1 230 Jr.-TR 14.3 6.3 3.4 bpg G 0 Gilbert Arenas 6-3 191 Fr.-HS 12.7 3.9 2.1 apg G 22 Jason Gardner 5-10 178 Fr.-HS 12.0 3.3 5.6 apg Arizona in 1999-00 Polls/Week-by-Week Date Record AP USA Today/ESPN Pre. 0-0 #9 #9 11/15 1-0 #10 #9 11/22 2-0 #8 #9 11/29 4-0 #4 #4 12/6 6-0 #2 #2 12/13 7-1 #4 #3 12/20 9-1 #3 #2 12/27 9-2 #5 #4 1/3 11-2 #5 #4 1/10 13-2 #2 #2 Michael Wright's Career Double-Doubles (19 in 44 career games) Arizona's record in these games is 13-6 Date Opponent Points Rebounds 12/14/98 UC-Irvine 15 13 1-2-99 at UCLA 14 10 1/4/99 at USC 11 12 1/14/99 at Arizona State 18 12 1/16/99 at New Mexico 15 17 1/23/99 at Oregon State 13 12 1/30/99 California 15 12 2/4/99 at Washington 19 10 2/13/99 Louisiana State 15 11 2/20/99 Oregon 19 13 3/4/99 USC 22 10 3/12/99 Oklahoma 16 12 11/16/99 Kansas State 11 10 11/19/99 New Mexico State 24 13 11/24/99 Notre Dame 22 11 12/1/99 BYU 19 10 12/4/99 Texas 16 13 12/7/99 Connecticut 14 10 12/30/99 Delaware 19 14